Introduction: Make a One Desk Electronics Lab (in a Small Place, for Beginners)
Runner Up in the
Living Without Closets Contest
Living without closets and without a work room isn't easy, really don't like that I have a small room. We have a weekend house, that I'm visiting very often because I have a whole electronics lab there (with Arduino stations and many more), but here at home in my extremly small room I haven't enough space to make a fully functional lab, so I should be creative.
In this Instructable I'll show and explain you how to organize your desk to have everything that is neccesary for electronics projects. I'll show you that what kind of tools and parts are needed in your inventory. If you're a beginner hope I'll help you. I also will show you some life hacks that you may find useful. If you liked this Instructable let me know if you want to see my electronics workplace.
With the help of some instresting life hacks you can make a whole lab in your room, and I'll teach you how.
Step 1: A Quick Preview
When 10 years ago jumped in the world of the electronics I decided that I won't leave that anything prevent my creativity, so I won't leave that the lack of space turn against me. This is my extended workbench and my learning desk. It's very practical, I'm usually learning here to the highschool, but can be transformed into a workbench in seconds. On the second picture you can see how looks in "normal mode". I have a laptop on it that is neccesary for electronics, for programming, designing circuits. I'm using Fritzing and EAGLE to design electric circuits. These two programs are helping me a lot.
It's important to have a very comfortable chair, because sometimes I sit 3-4 hours at my desk. Mine isn't such a modern chair but helps me to keep a correct posture. May hurt if you keep your back crooked. Please always be attantive to this. Life Hack: If your back hurts, just make 20 push-ups then keep a minute of past, repeat this three times and you should feel yourself better, hope helps. This will move your muscles.
Step 2: What Is Needed in an Electronics Worksplace?
I'll tell you that what do you need if you wat to change the world at your desk.
- Soldering Iron (I recommend Weller)
- Soldering Station (I'll show you how to make your own)
- Wire Stripper/Cutter
- Dremel/Rotary Tools (for making project enlosures or robots
- Glue Gun
- Super Glue
- Electricity Conductive Ink (to correct errors in circuits)
- Desoldering Pump
- Screw Driver
- Metal Ruler
Finlally store all of these in a small gabinet. :)
- Wooden Disks
- Plastic Enclosures
- Boxes (to organize electronic components)
- Anything else you need
I store these usually under or next to my desk between furnitures.
- Arduinos (I have at least 4 of them that I don't use, because they are needed for prototyping. Once I made my project, I buy a new one to have on stock)
- Transistors, Resistors, Capacitors, ICs, Timers, Prorotype Circuits (I buy passive and active electronic components from a local store, it's like a Radioshack in my town, if you haven't a local shop I'll link some sites where you can buy parts: Gearbest and TME or Digikey. I'm also buying parts on eBay, but my experience is that Gearbest is a bit more depandable. For buying gadgets, like tablets, phones I always ho up to Amazon.com.)
- Solar Panels
- Arduino Modules (LCDs, Buttons, OLED screens, Bluetooth, WiFi and many more... I bought them from Gearbest or from eBay)
Step 3: An Always Ready Arduino UNO
I never use that Arduino UNO for done project. I'm testing codes and make prorotypes with it.
Step 4: LinkIt ONEs Instead of a Lot of Modules
If I want to build an IoT project I use one of my Meadiatek LinkIt ONE Dev-Board. Has an all in one WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, GPRS, GSM, SMS and SD card connections. These guys saved my projects a lot times. And I love to use them. Instead of buying a lot of modules you can use this pocket sized circuit that can be stoed anywhere in your workbench, because it has the same size like an Arduino UNO. I almost forgot to say that is fully Arduino IDE compatible...
Step 5: Two-Legged Instant Expanding Desk
Again because of the lack of space I had to find a good solution to expand my desk, because it's pretty small without it. The recipe is easy: I used a plywood table and two wooden rods to make a quickly buildable computer or work desk. The best thing is that if I don't use can be hidden between my furnitures and the wall. The other side of the table is standing on my desk's keyboard holder.
Step 6: When Is Needed?
Everytime when I'm programming, crafting or soldering I use it. I make pictures on it for my Instructables to give clear pictures for the readers.
Step 7: Random Shoebox
I have a shoebox in one of my cabinets and I store 18650 Li-Ion batteries for robots and future ptojects. I also store here a lot of motors, battery holders, cables and power adapters. It's good have a 5 volt, or a 12 volt power supply adapter for weekend projects. You can save a lot of space by making a homemade shoebox organizer box.
Step 8: Random Cabinet
As you can see this cabinet does not contains so many parts now beacuse I dropped out junk, but usually is full of prototype circuits, batteries, speaker drivers and microcontrollers. I also store here PC power supplies, old projects, solar panels, my rotary tool and plexyglas for making chassis for robotics projects. So I just put here every kind of thing for future projects, but my mom said that I should keep order I wasn't brave enough to say her "no". :)
Step 9: Homemade Soldering Station
Three years ago I made this plywood based soldering station, and still works right. Almost every holding element is made from very strong copper wire, but is still foldable. I created a fume extractor with an old CPU fan that runs on 12 volts and contains also 4 extrabright LEDs to ensure good light for working.
Has a lot of advantages, it's a very compact device, and every part on it that you see can be folded down to put in your cabinet.
Step 10: Phone Sized Oscilloscope
A DSO Nano V3 is always next to me when designing circuits. It's a digital pocket sized oscillospoce, and measures very precisely.
Step 11: A Good Friend
This is my homemade phone controlled BB-8 droid that reflects that I'm a Star Wars fan. I keep this one place always clean.
Step 12: The Shelves
I change very often gadgets on shelves, right now you can see an always half-done robot prototype that is used to test programs. It's very easy to use with a motor shield and makes prototyping easier. I also have some microcontrollers and drones on the right corner, but on the center you can see my Arduino Server that has 433mHz Radio Frequency, Bluetooth, and Wifi connectivity. I'll use this for and upcoming mindwave/thought controlled project, but sometimest I use to quick prototype something IoT stuff with the build in Particle Photon that can be programmed wirelessly. I simply love that developer board. I also store some done projects on this shelve.
Step 13: Smallest Toolbox
In that small thing should I store my tools. Here are almost every basic stuff that I need to make my project. If something isn't here I go and take it from my dad's workbench and fortunately he gives me them with pleasure (Well, he has no choice).
Step 14: Gadgets...
I have only some basic gadgets, a tablet to check shematics, a phone of course and a bluetooth speaker to my favorite songs while working.
Step 15: Organizing Boxes
The parts and neccesary prototyping tools are all stored in boxes like this. I have six of them. These two are that are on the pictures are used commonly, the others are more professional, and I have some "secret" project prototypes plans in them.
I store microcontrollers, DIY modules, jumper wires and many more parts for circuits like transistors, ICs, resistors, LEDs...
Step 16: The Biggest Life Hack
During the years I learned that the biggest life hack to save space in your room is to keep order. I'm not an orderly/tidy boy, but the truth is that sometimes is needed to keep order in your room and in your life too. It's more healthlier than living in "junk"...
Step 17: Stay Hydrated!
I'm serious... Don't forget to drink while working, at least once in an hour.
Thank you for watching, hope you liked my ideas, if yes clock the Vote button! More projects soon... ;)
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